The one species Congress' new animal caucus is truly neglecting, and 5 ways it can help.

As the health care debate continues to rage, conflict ramps up in Syria, and tensions escalate in North Korea, a new congressional caucus is finally taking a bold, bipartisan stand on an issue of tremendous urgency.

USA Today reported that members of both parties have decided to cast politics aside and come together to support the heretofore controversial cause of being nicer to puppies, kittens, and ponies.  

Awwwwwwww. Photo via iStock.


"Members of Congress are realizing that protecting animals is not just the right thing to do, it's also developing to become potent politically," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) told the paper.

Among the bipartisan bills being considered by the newly formed Congressional Animal Protection Caucus: a bill that bans most private possession of big cats (lions, tigers, etc.), one that bans the sale of dogs and cats for human consumption, and one that bans the testing of cosmetics on rabbits, mice, and other animals.  

These are all good ideas, and people certainly love animals, making the issues likely political winners.

Still, there's one animal that didn't make the group's list — a species that Congress can't seem to agree needs protecting:

Human beings.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images.

There are over 320 million human beings in the United States and over 7 billion in the world. Many live in unimaginable conditions, struggling to find food, maintain shelter, and survive in hostile environments. For a caucus ostensibly devoted to animal welfare, leaving this species off its list seems an incredible oversight.

Here are a few ways the caucus could add the large primate to its agenda.

1. A bill that would make it easier for doctors to treat human beings when they're sick.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Over 28 million human beings in the United States don't have health insurance, without which many of the omnivorous great apes fall ill and die. What's more, Congress recently considered legislation that would have taken it away from 24 million more of them.

Perhaps the caucus can look into this.

2. A bill to help feed human beings who have trouble feeding themselves.

Photo by Gregg Newton/Getty Images.

Last year, members of Congress proposed slashing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), which provides nutrition to members of the bipedal hominid species who might otherwise go hungry.

If the bipartisan group is truly invested in easing the suffering of creatures large and small, expanding, rather than contracting, the species' access to sources of food is a great place to start.

3. A bill that would allow human females to access reproductive medical care.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

On April 13, 2017, President Trump signed a bill allowing states to deny funds to organizations that treat diseases specific to human beings with uteri and cervixes and help them decide whether and when to reproduce.

The caucus might want to consider making it easier for these anthropoid females to not get cancer and make these decisions for themselves, which could ultimately boost their survival rate.

4. A bill that prevents law enforcement officials from abusing human beings.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images.

In the last several years, dozens of videos depicting the graphic abuse of human beings by police officers have gone viral. In response, the Justice Department and local police departments launched a series of internal reviews — which Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering suspending, claiming they "reduce morale."

If the caucus is indeed considering a national animal cruelty bill, they should at least add humans to the list of species whose abuse will be penalized, no matter the status or uniform of the person doing the abusing.  

5. A bill that would let humans move from a country where they're being killed in large numbers by other humans to one where they're safe.

Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

Six years ago, the Syrian government began exterminating members of the species with bombs and poison gas, sending millions stampeding in the direction of the border. Yet much of the world remains surprisingly unconcerned about the hordes of human beings fleeing certain death. In fact, President Trump recently signed an executive order preventing them from settling in the United States.

The caucus should consider passing some sort of legislation that not only overturns this order, but brings more members of the threatened species here to live in safety.

Protecting human beings isn't as much of a slam dunk political winner as, say, laws that require feeding horses aged ribeye and giving every puppy a flower crown.

But hey, as long as Congress is saving animals, might as well give it a shot!

Both together! Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Stagecoach.

'Cause unlike dogs, cats, hyenas, cockatiels, and white Bengal tigers, human beings vote.

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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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The Holderness family has made quite a name for themselves creating fun parody songs, but they may have just outdone themselves. As the world awaits the premiere of the filmed version Hamilton's original staged production on Disney +, the Holdernesses have released a "Hamilton Mask-up Parody Medley" that perfectly captures inane mask-wearing debates in the musical mastery of Hamilton.

As of now, it's only been up for six hours and has already been shared more than 35,000 times. Hamilton fans love it, recognizing familiar tunes such as "Aaron Burr, Sir," "My Shot," and "You'll Be Back." But even people who have never seen or heard Hamilton before will appreciate the cultural commentary on mask-wearing—an issue that has the U.S. struggling as it attempts to manage a pandemic in a highly individualistic society. As the video points out, public health isn't a partisan thing, and mask-wearing to protect others certainly shouldn't be something that angers people.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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